Pope Francis’s message Sunday couldn’t have been clearer: With hundreds of thousands of refugees flowing into Europe, Catholics across the continent had a moral duty to help by opening their churches, monasteries and homes as sanctuaries.
On Monday, the church’s spiritual leader for southern Hungary — scene of some of the heaviest migrant flows anywhere in Europe — had a message just as clear: His Holiness is wrong.
“They’re not refugees. This is an invasion,” said Bishop Laszlo Kiss-Rigo, whose dominion stretches across the southern reaches of this predominantly Catholic nation. “They come here with cries of ‘Allahu Akbar.’ They want to take over.”
The bishop’s stark language reflects a broader spiritual struggle in Europe over how to respond to a burgeoning flow of predominantly Muslim men, women and children onto a largely Christian continent.
The pope’s call for compassion and charity is competing with a view most prominently articulated by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has cast the flow of migrants as a direct challenge to Europe’s Christian character.